You’re Just Too Stupid To Know …

Well, that Heineken commercial – the Worlds Apart #OpenYourWorld video – is certainly garnering attention – positive, excited, provocative, and outrage. I have to admit, the outrage part caught me by surprise. And seeing a headline that says it is worse than the Pepsi commercial, but “you’re just too stupid to know” does not feel like an invitation that welcomes me into an exploration of why that might be.

Heineken commercial photo

I saw the Heineken video about a week ago (have not seen the Pepsi one) and it resonated for me in relation to the work we are doing with Worldview Intelligence. The biggest challenge people seem to have is about how to have conversations with people who have very different worldviews, perspectives, or opinions than they have. The kinds of conversations that usually shut down before they even begin. The kinds of situations that have torn families and friendships apart.

I see now that there are people pointing out that some of the people in the video are more at risk than others – a point which seems valid to me. Some of the scenarios were much milder and some much riskier – climate change believer and denier paired up versus a transgender woman and a man disgusted by the very idea. Some think it perpetuates the very situations and scenarios it is highlighting.

What I wondered after seeing the video was: how? How did they do it? What was the invitation that was made to the people who participated? How was the scenario of the exchange set up? How did they create “safe enough” conditions for participation? They clearly went to a fair bit of work in the preparation since they had videos of each person created prior to their meeting.

If I already don’t like the video, I’m more likely to click on the stories that tell me it is dangerous, idiotic or harmful. It will confirm my perspective – confirmation bias. If I like the video, telling me “I’m too stupid to know …” makes me feel judged and does not make me interested in reading the post – which maybe I should be reading in order to expand my worldview.

For me, watching the video made me more curious about how to create environments where people who see and experience the world very differently can meet each other in exploratory spaces – something greatly needed and desired right now by many we encounter in our work. How to do it well in increasingly challenging situations – well, that is the question and the exploration at the center of much of the work of Worldview Intelligence.